The Living Church

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The Living ChurchNovember 11, 2001Young Members Get to Know West Virginia's New Bishop by (The Rev.) Elizabeth A. Walker223(21) p. 19, 36

On the eve of his Oct. 13 consecration as the seventh Bishop of West Virginia, the Rt. Rev. William Michie "Mike" Klusmeyer, his wife, Marsha, and their daughters, Emily and Anna, attended a banquet in their honor, held in a rustic log cabin resort surrounded by mountains ablaze with autumn color.

Afterwards, he joined diocesan youth at a lock-in retreat held in the student center of the college at which he would be consecrated. That event brought together nearly 100 young people.

"He's very personable and very funny," said Sarah Johnson, a high school junior from the southern part of the diocese and one of the retreat participants. "I think he's going to be very good for the youth. He's very friendly and outgoing. He was interested in who we are and where we are from. He went beyond the basics - he really was interested in us and what we did in our churches."

Although Bishop Klusmeyer wasn't able to spend the night with the young people, the youth lock-in proved to be a special time.

The next morning, the Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold, Presiding Bishop, was the preacher and chief consecrator in the chapel of West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon. The service was the largest attendance for an episcopal consecration in the history of the 124-year-old diocese, which is comprised of 81 congregations and 3,550 households.

Other consecrators included the Rt. Rev. William D. Persell, Bishop of Chicago; the Rt. Rev. Robert P. Atkinson, retired Bishop of West Virginia; the Rt. Rev. Wendell N. Gibbs, Jr., Bishop of Michigan; the Rt. Rev. James W. Montgomery, retired Bishop of Chicago; the Rev. Ralph Dunkin, Bishop of the West Virginia Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; and, the Rt. Rev. C. Charles Vaché, retired Bishop of Southern Virginia and Assisting Bishop in West Virginia for the past two years.

Bishop Klusmeyer, formerly rector of Trinity Church, Wheaton, Ill., was elected in May on the fourth ballot. He received his undergraduate degree from Illinois College in 1977 and his Master of Divinity degree from the General Theological Seminary in 1980. He served first as curate and later as rector of Grace Church, Freeport, Ill. (1980-90) and then was called as rector of Trinity Church, Wheaton, in 1990.

(The Rev.) Elizabeth A. Walker